This report is worth a look at , if only to reflect on the depressingly slow pace of e-assessment across the public education system in the UK . I think when I was involved in setting up the UK E-Assessment Association in the early noughties we hoped things would move much faster.
What are the challenges
I know I am lumping schools , colleges , universities and some work-based learning all together here and that some systems particularly in workplace are going a lot faster !
1. It is hard to get system and teachers to move away from pencil and paper even for high stakes summative assessment and even where there is a strong evidence base that on-line makes the assessments both more accessible and more cost effective. Education leaders are afraid of making decision and changing procedures too. There still appears to be a big digital literacy deficit among teachers and educational leaders.
2. Centres are still not geared up for e-assessment . Even though much of this can now be done across wifi and even on candidates own devices . You don't always need to invest in a bespoke on-line test centre.
3. The awarding bodies - either have their own bespoke systems or are too tied in to systems and processes that require paper. Much of the e-enablement has focused on embedding the current system. Scanning of candidates scripts for electronic marking rather than any attempt to move the whole assessment and verification systems on-line. Any candidate evidence should be on-line and remotely accessible by now . That includes evidence at centre level internal validation should be through images of candidates work.
4. An unwillingness to open up the question banks that do exist . There should be rafts of on-line apps and systems that allow learners lots of ways to develop their skills through formative assessments on-line, based on items from the awarding bodies past papers. I am still looking for a free platform that can do maths , numeracy , digital literacy , communications - call it what you will core skills , functional skills , essential skills- diagnostic testing . Staff should not have to create lots of assessment instruments and items they should be available for re-purposing.
5. A lack of flexibility and a belief that exam halls are always the answer. In terms of assessment in the round there is a push back to high stakes testing and away from e-portfolios and continuous assessment - which is in my opinion pedagogically unsound . This a feature principally in English system.
Over the last 14 years the system has had lots of advice but still learners are more likely to encounter an on-line assessment in situations out with formal education than through an educational establishment. Even at level of institutions preparing learners for the real world , this is wrong.
If folks looked at some of the platforms that are already available and open https://open.edx.org/ for example they would see that there are already very reliable ways to automatically mark even short answer questions. I've raised this example before . I think in Scotland we need someone to make an instance of this available on an open basis to support adoption of on-line learning and assessment across life long learning and out in to our communities.
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